Traditional Balinese dance

Balinese dancing, whether by men, women or children, is a mesmerizing joy to watch.

The skilful dexterity, which these beautifully costumed dancers display, shows their fingers and eyes dancing more than their bodies could ever sway.

Balinese dance

Just try and get your fingers at this angle!

Just try and get your fingers at this angle!

Fingers bending
backwards
impossible angles
and degrees

Eyes darting
this way and that
quicker than the
eye can see

Costumes of
reds and golds
yellows and whites
cover the stage

Set to ancient music
performed for
the temple
not for a wage

There are many kinds of traditional performances – this woman is dancing the Legong dance.

And, yes, it’s true that they do not get paid for performing in the temple, sometimes into the middle of the night, as that is for sacred purposes.

Topeng performance

Topeng performance

It always makes me smile to see dancers, in full costume, making their way to and from the performance venue – on their motorbikes.  I will get a picture of this one of these days.

Here is a man performing Topeng, a masked dance – again, check out those fingers and toes!

There are many different Topeng masks for the different characters portrayed.

These full face masks represent characters such as royalty, and they express themselves primarily through movement.

The characters who speak the most are those with 1/2 masks and they represent soldiers, servants or ‘yes men’ etc.

Here is another Topeng dancer putting the finishing touches on his costume…

When a Topeng dancer looks in the mirror... who is it that looks back?

When a Topeng dancer looks in the mirror… who is it that looks back?

Click here to see a different type of dance called Rejang Renteng.  This is performed by unmarried women who are related (i.e. children or sisters) to the village holy men (Mangku).

And then there are the children’s performances…

3 young dancers in full costume

3 young dancers in full costume

These particular girls danced inside a temple after a very unusual ceremony had taken place just outside of the temple gates.

This was in a small village in Klung Kung Regency on Kuningan Day (a special Balinese Hindu celebration).

The flower headdresses danced in harmony with the girl’s movements.

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1 Comment

  1. Photographs of dancers « Julie in Bali

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